2 10 2013

We noted an article a couple of days ago at the Bangkok Post on the long-proposed evictions and re-development of the Pom Mahakan neighborhood, at the centre of the so-called Rattanakosin Island. This article was by Michael Herzfeld who is said to be “the Ernest E Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University, where he also serves as coordinator for Thai Studies in the university’s Asia Centre.”

His article is a well-made plea to abandon the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) plan, in place for more than two decades, requiring the eviction of residents. Eviction notices are again being issued by the BMA. Herzfeld asks: After so long, why now?

Good question. But what of the context?

PPT found two snippets of interest. The first is from a downloadable PDF and refers to the role of the Crown Property Bureau:

Pom 2

The second also refers to the CPB and is from a book at Google Books:

Pom 1

We wonder if the CPB has divested itself of this land and disowned the plan, which it desperately wanted in order to raise rents following the Asian financial crisis?

We wonder why the professor only mentions the BMA? We also found this article on official Thai government support for Harvard University where Herzfeld is heading a drive for big money. This quote from the professor is code for the monarchy’s relationship with Harvard University: “Given the fact that there is a long symbolic association between Harvard and Thailand, it is quite shocking that Harvard and across the university doesn’t have Thai studies.”

Does fund raising lead to quietness on some issues or is the CPB now irrelevant to this eviction? As we all know, doing anything vaguely academic related to the monarchy requires either some courage (if critical) or being very quiet.



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